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Residents of the southeastern United States, rejoice! Beginning next spring, Carnival Cruise Lines, the world’s largest cruise operator, will introduce the first year-round Bahamas and Florida itinerary from charming Charleston, S.C. The 2,056-passenger Carnival Fantasy will be taking up residence in this historic city, with her inaugural voyage set for May 18, 2010. Thereafter, Carnival Cruise Lines will operate five-, six-, and seven-day cruises with a variety of departure days to the Bahamas and Florida. Among the ports of call listed on the Fantasy’s itineraries are Nassau, Freeport, Grand Turk, in the Bahamas as well as Key West, Florida, and Carnival’s private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay – all of which offer superb snorkeling and other water-oriented activities for passengers to enjoy.

So, why did Carnival choose Charleston?

“Charleston is an extraordinary city within easy reach of millions of U.S. residents who will now have convenient access to Carnival’s fantastic and affordable cruise vacation options year-round,” said Carnival president and CEO, Gerry Cahill.

Carnival is expected to carry more than 140,000 passengers annually from the port of Charleston. In an effort to accommodate this passenger surge, the South Carolina State Ports Authority and the City of Charleston are working to upgrade the passenger terminal and meet new security requirements.

Carnival is now accepting reservations on Carnival Fantasy’s new year-round departures from Charleston. Some key features on the recently-refurbished ship include a 12,000-square-foot health spa, great children-friendly facilities, and a water park complete with a 300-foot-long water slide and 82-foot-long dual racing slides.

For more information about Carnival’s new year-round sailings from Charleston, S.C., or to book a cruise from the port, visit www.carnival.com.

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